Who has to approve your request for a stepparent adoption?

Adoptions in Louisiana don’t always involve strangers taking in children from foster care or from other countries. Sometimes, adoption occurs inside an existing family unit.

Also known as intrafamily adoptions, these family changes help stabilize a child’s situation and strengthen their legal ties to someone providing care like a parent should. If you are a devoted stepparent, whose permission do you need to complete an adoption in Louisiana?

Your spouse

The starting point for exploring stepparent adoption should be talking with your spouse who is the legal or biological parent of the child. You may not realize that there is a compelling reason to keep things the way they are, like benefits the child receives because of a deceased parent. If your spouse agrees, then the other parent is the next priority.

The other parent

If the other biological parent has already died or the state has terminated their parental rights, you don’t need to worry about this step. However, if they are just a deadbeat who never shows up for visitation and doesn’t pay child support, they still technically have legal rights as a parent. You will have to approach them and ask them to sign a form ending their parental rights so that you can adopt.

The child

You love your stepchild, and you know they love you. However, they may have reservations about adoption, especially if they feel a sense of loss about the death or lack of involvement from their other parents. Deferring to your stepchild’s preferences shows that you respect them and might mean that they eventually change their mind.

If all of these people agree, then you have the option of going to court. Pursuing a stepparent adoption requires commitment, dedication and an understanding of the Louisiana family law system.